Handcuffs

A Richmond woman was sentenced Thursday to nearly 13 years in prison for helping her boyfriend commit five robberies and for aiding and abetting the brandishing of a firearm during one of the robberies.

Christina Marie Pilgrim, 37, who pleaded guilty in July, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. According to court documents, Pilgrim was married, ran a day care center out of her home and also worked at the Dollar Tree store in the 8900 block of Patterson Avenue in Henrico County.

In 2017, she began a romantic relationship with Ali Cousins Jr., 31, who brought his son to her day care. When Cousins began to suffer financial difficulties last year, Pilgrim suggested to him that he could rob the Dollar Tree store where she worked, according to court documents.

Relying on information provided by Pilgrim that included who would be working there on a given night and the location of safes and cameras in the store, Cousins robbed the store five times from March to September 2018. Pilgrim also provided Cousins access to her husband’s gun, according to court documents.

In August 2018, Pilgrim told Cousins that the store manager would make the nightly bank deposit at a nearby Wells Fargo branch. Pilgrim watched as the manager left the Dollar Tree and notified Cousins when the manager was on his way to the bank. When the manager got to the bank, Cousins robbed him and Pilgrim picked Cousins up afterward.

Pilgrim made her husband’s car available to Cousins to use in the last robbery. Cousins and an accomplice entered the store just before closing while Pilgrim was working there. While the two robbers were in the restroom waiting for an opportunity to commit the robbery, Pilgrim sent text messages to Cousins alerting him that others in the store were suspicious.

Soon after that text message, Cousins and the accomplice completed the robbery and fled, according to court documents. Cousins was arrested that same night. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Payne in August. Two other men involved in some of the robberies have also been convicted.

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